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Defence Force Roles

Job Prospects

Job Prospects... At a glance

Entry into the New Zealand Defence Force is competitive and the training can be demanding, but once you are in, there is a 15-year period of guaranteed service. You get paid while training and wages are generally above average.

How to enter the defence forces

What they do

The primary role of the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) is to protect New Zealand from security threats and to work with New Zealand’s allies to contribute to global defence. In the course of undertaking its roles,the NZDF is on hand to provide support to emergency services both in NewZealand and overseas. This may include helping those suffering hardship as a result of war or a natural disaster or working with search and rescue teams tofind someone who needs help. The specific duties vary widely between the different trades. Many of the trades are non-combat, but they all ultimately help the NZDF towards their goal of keeping New Zealand safe.

The NZDF employs personnel in over 100 roles, encompassing all jobs from technical and service trades, through to specialist officer and combat trades. The specific duties vary widely between the different trades. Many of the trades are non-combat, but they all ultimately help the NZDF towards their goal of keeping New Zealand safe.


The Defence Force can provide you with information on specific requirements by calling 0800 1 FORCE or on their website

There is training in the NZDF at all levels, including university, the qualifications you will gain through the NZDF are industry standard.

Cost of study

Defence Force Training

Getting qualifications through the NZDF is free, new recruits are paid during training, and food and accommodation is provided on base.

Sponsored tertiary study programmes are available at all levels.

Where to study

Where you'll do your initial training depends on your chosen trade and Service - on the North Shore in Auckland, if you join the Navy; in Waiouru, in the central North Island, if you join the Army; and in Woodbourne, near Blenheim, if you join the Air Force. Specialist training can happen in any number of bases and places in New Zealand or overseas.

Income and employment prospects


Salaries are competitive and rise in line with your rank and qualifications. On top of that are benefits such as annual leave, subsidised food and accommodation, free medical and dental care and superannuation schemes to help you save for the future. On top of your basic salary you can expect something called Military Factor. This provides you with significant extra financial rewards because of the commitment you are making to your country.

Employment and skill shortages

Defence role employment

There are 6818 uniformed personnel employed by the NZDF, these numbers depend on the Service needs. The NZDF is generally moving towards fewer, more highly trained and specialised servicemen and servicewomen.

If you join the NZDF on a standard engagement, the guaranteed period of service is 15 years, provided you maintain your medical grading and service efficiency.

Where to find job vacancies

Defence force members are recruited directly by the NZDF. See their website for current vacancies.

NZDF, careers:

Career path

The Defence Force has two main career streams: Officers, and Other Ranks (Soldiers/Sailors/Airmen and Airwomen). Both are available within the main job categories: Combat and Security, Aviation, Officers and Management, Medical and Health, Engineering, Intelligence, IT and Communications, Hospitality, and Logistics and Administration.

Due to career progression and regular posting cycles (normally 2-3 years), you will be changing positions every couple of years so there are always opportunities for new challenges, to gain new skills, and to live and work in different places with different people.

Some jobs and some training incurs a Return of Service Obligation, which generally means once you’ve completed your training you must remain in the Defence Force for a period of time afterwards.

Other information


More information on defence force roles is available on the Careers New Zealand website, through the "Just the Job" videos and on NZDF’s own career website.

Careers New Zealand:

NZDF, careers:

Air Force Engineering Officer:

Air Force Logistics Specialist:

Air Force Avionics Technician:

Air Force Logistics Officer:

Air Force Slight Steward:

Air Force Force Protection:

Naval General List Executive (Navigation) Officer:

Navy Combat Systems Specialist:

Navy Weapons Engineer:

Navy Marine Technician:

Navy Steward:

Navy Chef:

Navy Steward:

Army Chef:

Army Automotive Technician:

Army Ammunition Technician:


The Australian New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) is the official classification of occupations in New Zealand.

The occupation of defence force roles has been coded to the following ANZSCO code for the purpose of this report:

4411 – Defence Force Members - Other Ranks